When can I return to triathlon training after my tummy tuck with lipo?

I am 4 weeks post tummy tuck with lipo, no muscle repair. My PS is a great guy but he just can’t seem to answer my question. I am a competitive triathlete. I am trying to figure out when I can begin ramping up my training again. I am suppose to start my training Dec 7th (7 weeks post op) and slowly ramp up to be in full training by February. It would be great to get some guidelines on returning to sport after the procedure.

Doctor Answers 6

Healing and Activity Following a Mommy Makeover

The Mommy Makeover is a combination of procedures to bring a woman’s body back to the way she looked prior to pregnancy. Most commonly some variation of a #TummyTuck and #BreastSurgery are performed. Additional procedures can include liposuction, umbilical hernia repair.  The most common #breastprocedures include #mastopexy or #breastlift, #breastaugmentation, or #breastreduction.   

Healing after a  #tummytuck will require time. Some patients are out of bed and walking the night of surgery and every hour while awake. I allow my patients to return to work at one to two weeks with 14 days preferred.  However, no lifting or straining.  At three weeks, increased level of activity and full with no restrictions, at 6 weeks. #MummyTummy is a term given to modified tummy tucks which can use liposuction and skin tightening with radiofrequency such Vanquish, Vela3, thermage, thermiRF and others.  The actual fat contouring can be done non-surgically as well with #UltraShape or Cool-Sculpting.
As I advise my patients, if your work keeps you sedentary, you may return whenever you feel up to it. If your work is strenuous, wait until your work activity does not cause any superficial pain.
Some employers will modify a person’s job duties so they can back sooner, but without physical activity. Our office can provide our patients with a note stating they are not to engage in strenuous activity for a specified period of time. The note will not disclose what procedure they have underwent. Therefore, you may have to request a similar note from your surgeon if you are not independently employed. I recommend avoiding heavy lifting and strenuous #activity for six weeks following your surgery. With that said, it may help you plan your return to work accordingly.

As for heavy lifting and other #strenuous #activities, it should be avoided for until you have clearance from your surgeon. You may, however, do normal activities at any time if they cause no pain or #discomfort. Let your body tell you what you can or cannot do. Aerobic exercise will raise your blood pressure, which could cause late bleeding and harm your result. Once you begin exercising again, start gently and let your body tell you what it can tolerate. Don’t rush!!  If you have concerns about your healing, or pain that you question to be unusual, it is important to call your plastic surgeon to discuss these further asked to be examined.

Orange County Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 107 reviews


I do many competitive athletes in many disciplines. In my opinion, most plastic surgeons are unnecessarily restrictive in limiting return to activity. Without muscle repair and with normal healing (NO scabs or raw areas), I allow my tummy tuck patients to return to whatever activity they chose after two weeks. The key there is that while they are ALLOWED to do whatever they wish, it is not likely they will FEEL like doing whatever they want. If they don't mind the discomfort then I am O.K. with them doing it. Most are not REALLY active at a high level for at least 3-4 weeks. In the over twenty-five years of practice of which over ten have been allowing this activity, I have never seen a problem caused by this. There is always a first time.

Robert H. Hunsaker, MD
Miami Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 79 reviews

When can I return to triathlon training after my tummy tuck with lipo?

Active patients are often anxious to get back to their work out routines after surgery, however we need to base this recommendation on how each patient is healing. In general, at six weeks I recommend my patients begin working their way back to their full activity level. The timing on this process will be individualized and I encourage them to listen to their bodies. Most patients are able to return to their pre-surgery work-outs in approximately 6-8 weeks after surgery. The best doctor to determine if you are ready to start the process is your plastic surgeon. Best of luck with your triathlon training!

George John Alexander, MD, FACS
Las Vegas Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 38 reviews

Returning to Triathlon Training After Tummy Tuck

There are two levels of answers to these questions.  First, of all I let my patents return to training on day 43 (6 weeks after surgery).  Second, it takes almost 2 months after returning to training to get the core muscles back to a baseline level, as in many cases the rectus repair performed during tummy tuck changes the direction of force of the muscles and as such retraining these muscles in often required in there new and improved (returned position before weight gain and/or pregnancy) position.

John Millard, MD
Denver Plastic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 15 reviews

When can I return to triathlon training after my tummy tuck with lipo?

If you definitely did not have muscle tightening, I don't see why you wouldn't be able to train at 7 weeks.  If you did have sutures placed in your muscle fascia, you may want to wait a bit longer.

Paul H. Rhee, MD, FACS
Castle Rock Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 28 reviews

Lipo or tuck

ideally i advice my patients to avoid strenuous training for at least 6 months,it also depends on the type of repair and the suture materials used for strengthening the facia over the muscles,so to play safe 6 months,you can do mild excercises like jogging and running over 3-6 months but lifting weights and crunches are better avoided for 6 months

Thangavel Ayyappan, MBBS, MS, MCh, DNB
India Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 3 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.